State of the Heat

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The Miami Heat ended last season on a loss.

Four losses.

The Milwaukee Bucks swept the Heat out of the first round just one year after Miami reached the NBA Finals. The Bucks proceeded to win the 2021 NBA title, while the Heat went back to the drawing board. Miami wasted no time adjusting its roster, finalizing a sign-and-trade deal with the Toronto Raptors for six-time All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry on the first night of free agency. The Heat also extended All-Star Jimmy Butler and re-signed sharpshooter Duncan Robinson.

Butler, who led the Heat in points and assists last year, is pleased with Miami’s offseason moves.

“We’re consistently getting better. Adding young guys, getting the right amount of vets to put us over the hump and win the championship,” Butler said in a press conference in early August. “They believe in myself, Bam [Adebayo] and all the guys that they put around us.”

Heat president Pat Riley, general manager Andy Elisburg and head coach Erik Spoelstra are building the roster around a core of Butler and 6-foot-9 center Bam Adebayo, who will enter his fifth NBA season fresh off a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

Lowry joins Butler and Adebayo after nine seasons in Toronto, where he led the Raptors to an NBA championship in 2019. He averaged 17.2 points and 7.3 assists in Toronto last season. To land Lowry, Miami traded veteran point guard Goran Dragic and second-year forward Precious Achiuwa.

“I just want to be able to get out there and do my job at a high level. Try to take this organization back to a level where it once was and get back to a Finals, where they were a couple years ago, and get some championships,” Lowry said.

Among the flurry of moves Miami made to rebuild a championship-caliber roster and compete in the Eastern Conference, the Heat also acquired P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris.

The Heat didn’t lose any assets in adding Tucker, who left the Bucks to join Miami weeks after winning his first career ring. Tucker started in Milwaukee’s championship lineup and ranked third in charges drawn during the playoffs.

Morris, a forward, played the last few seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers and will give Miami a size boost in the frontcourt. In 61 games last season, he averaged 6.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

Newcomers from Miami’s NBA Summer League team include Marcus Garrett, D.J. Stewart, Micah Potter, Javonte Smart and Dru Smith.

The Heat signed Garrett to a two-way deal after he scored 11 points and grabbed almost six rebounds per game in the summer. Stewart posted averages of seven points, five rebounds and two steals. A Wisconsin Badgers product, Potter produced a 15-point, 10-rebound game. Smart had several double-scoring performances and Smith averaged over one steal per contest.

Miami also added high-flying Caleb Martin on a two-way contract. Martin played his first two NBA seasons for the Charlotte Hornets, where he produced several highlight-worthy slam dunks.

As far as returners from last year’s roster, three-point specialist Duncan Robinson is coming back to the Heat for a fourth season. He re-signed on a five-year, $90 million deal: the largest ever for an undrafted player.

Robinson started all 72 games last season for Miami and averaged 13.1 points per game. He finished the season fourth in the league in both three-point field goals made and attempted.

“From a confidence standpoint, the one thing about this organization is that they’re always going to be chasing championships,” Robinson said. “Having me around shows that they really believe that I can be a pivotal piece in that.”

Here’s a look at who else will be returning for Miami:

Udonis Haslem

Udonis Haslem will sport a Miami Heat jersey for a 19th season in the 2021-2022 season. Haslem has played his entire career with Miami, has been part of all three Heat championship teams (2006, 2012, 2013) and is Miami’s all-time leader in rebounds.

Victor Oladipo

It wasn’t too long ago that Victor Oladipo was regarded as one of the NBA’s best young guards. A two-time NBA All-Star, Oladipo made All-NBA and All-Defensive Team appearances in 2018. Miami landed Oladipo in a trade last season, but he tore his right quadriceps tendon four games into his time with the Heat. Oladipo signed a one-year minimum deal to stay in Miami as he rehabs his injury. At the moment, it’s unknown when Oldaipo will return this season.

Dewayne Dedmon

Dewayne Dedmon joined the Heat last April, supplying energy, big dunks and hustle. The Heat re-signed the veteran big man this summer to a one-year contract. With Miami last season, Dedmon played in 16 games, posting 7.1 points and 5.4 boards in just over 13 minutes per game.

Tyler Herro

Tyler Herro is back for his third NBA season. A 2019 Heat first round pick, Herro turned heads with some electrifying play throughout his rookie campaign. He set a record for three-pointers made by an NBA rookie in the playoffs and then averaged 15.1 points per contest in his sophomore season.

Omer Yurtseven

Miami signed seven-foot center Omer Yurtseven in May and re-signed him in August. He nearly broke Heat Twitter over the summer with dominant play in the NBA Summer League. Yurtseven averaged 26 points and 13.5 rebounds through two summer league games.

Max Strus

Max Strus re-signed with Miami this summer after leading the Heat’s bench scoring eight times last season. He dominated the NBA Summer League circuit. Strus scored 32 points and nailed a game-winner against Minnesota’s summer league squad.

KZ Okpala

KZ Okpala also enters his third year with Miami. The last time fans saw Okpala in a Heat uniform, he scored a career-high 17 points in last year’s regular season finale against the Detroit Pistons. Over the summer, he played for Nigeria in the Tokyo Olympics.

Gabe Vincent

Gabe Vincent played alongside Heat teammate KZ Okpala on the Nigerian Olympic team this summer. He’ll play his third professional season in 2021-22. Last January, he lit up the Philadelphia 76ers for 24 points and has shown streaky flashes of shooting potential in limited play time with Miami.

With a revamped roster and added depth, the Heat look fully equipped to take on the best the Eastern Conference has to offer in the 2021-2022 season. The new-look Heat will put their skills to the test on Oct. 4 when they take on the Atlanta Hawks at the FTX Arena to kick off the NBA Preseason.